YUJI Ramen Omakase

entering yuji ramen
entering yuji ramen

Nestled on a quiet residential stretch of Ainslie St. in Williamsburg is Okonomi, a tiny Japanese restaurant that is known for its traditional ichiju sansai breakfast sets. At night it operates as Yuji Ramen, which features the creative ramen bowls that chef Yuji Haraguchi served at pop-ups in Smorgasburg and Whole Foods Bowery. On the weekends, Haraguchi takes even bigger risks with his broths and noodles in an intriguing ramen omakase dinner that will hold your attention for hours.

in the kitchen
the yuji kitchen

As I mentioned before, the space itself is small and cozy, seating at most 12 people. The Danish word hygge comes to mind as the way to describe the atmosphere. It feels very warm and inviting in here, and with the jazz music on the background, it’s festive without being frenetic. I could sip sake the whole night and never want to leave.

place settings
place settings
house sake
house sake

I initially thought that I would be served 10 bowls of ramen in the omakase, but luckily it wasn’t that boring and literal. Soup and noodles were certainly inspirations, and Haraguchi seemed especially intent on rethinking the broth. There was a fragrant, lemongrass broth made from fish bones which was especially memorable and made me wonder why fish wasn’t incorporated more prominently in more soup bases. One that seemed really out there was the muscat grape broth, yet somehow the fruitiness paired remarkably well with the naturally unctuous mackerel meat. All of these unexpected broths made the finale course of a traditional shoyu ramen bowl seem downright conservative.

course 1 - roasted japanese vegetables chilled in a sweet soy dashi
course 1 – roasted japanese vegetables chilled in a sweet soy dashi
course 2 - ika somen, squid noodles and seaweed in a squid broth with watermelon and radish
course 2 – ika somen, squid noodles and seaweed in a squid broth with watermelon and radish
course 3 - miso risotto with six grain rice and ginger
course 3 – miso risotto with six grain rice and ginger
course 4 - boston mackerel sashimi lightly torched in a muscat grape broth
course 4 – boston mackerel sashimi lightly torched in a muscat grape broth
course 5 - shio ramen with onigiri rice ball
course 5 – shio ramen with onigiri rice ball
course 6 - bonito sashimi with grated cucumber and plum sauce
course 6 – bonito sashimi with grated cucumber and plum sauce
course 7 - buckwheat ramen in a mussel broth with peppers and dragon bean
course 7 – buckwheat ramen in a mussel broth with peppers and dragon bean
course 8 - seaweed ramen with Maine uni and thai basil
course 8 – seaweed ramen with Maine uni and thai basil
course 9 - shoyu ramen with scallions and nori made in a fish broth from previous courses
course 9 – shoyu ramen with scallions and nori made in a fish broth

The most memorable course, in my opinion, was the smallest one, but by no means the least. It was a spoonful of seaweed ramen paired with uni and Thai basil, arguably the most perfect bite of food to be had. Who knew the waters of Maine were home to such treasures? The ingredients were pure and prime, but it takes a master to arrange them at their full potential, and Haraguchi has got the skills.

the perfect bite
the perfect bite


YUJI Ramen
150 Ainslie St (between Lorimer and Leonard St)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 302-0598
Email ramenomakase@gmail.com for omakase reservations.

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